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First Floor Day at the NAB Show

Snooping around the floor at the National Association of Broadcasters convention

Day 1 of exhibits on the radio floor of the NAB Show … Radio exhibitors have been wondering what attendance will be like, given the economy. (Are expectations of lower attendance self-fulfilling?) Most vendors I talked to actually were pretty upbeat about traffic through most of today, though most seem to expect things will be much slower by Wednesday. Certainly it wasn’t gangbusters; it felt to me more like a busy Wednesday than a typical Monday of an NAB Show. Quite a few key exhibitor managers I talked to also plan to leave after two exhibit days, which usually doesn’t happen until Wednesday; and I’ve certainly had no problems getting a taxi.

On the other hand, during a booth visit with Nautel, I bumped into one prominent corporate engineering manager I hadn’t expected to see here; he thinks a lot of people waited until the last minute before deciding to come, as he did when he got a very late (and unexpected) OK from his corporate folks. And I heard generally supportive comments from exhibitors about traffic.

Comrex staff are plenty excited about the booth demo of their gear working with 4G; two representatives of Clearwire, the WiMax folks, are in the Comrex booth. …

It’s interesting to see the staffs of Audemat and the codec business of APT working together now that Audemat Group has acquired this part of APT. They’ll have one booth in future shows but the acquisition came too late for them to consolidate at this one.

Kudos to SAS for coming up with a clever printed pocket guide full of engineering tips and tech data wrapped around a few product ads; ask for one in their booth.

NAVTEQ is playing up the availability of its dynamic content for portable navigation devices and in-dash systems over HD Radio. As RW readers are aware, NAVTEQ is working with the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium.

NAB honcho David Rehr continued his upbeat tone about radio in his keynote, citing successes of the Radio Heard Here campaign to date. “We’ve also been reaching out to U.S. mobile phone carriers to include FM chips in cell phones. … FM receivers in cell phones could provide another revenue stream for cellular network providers. And integrated FM receivers would give cell phone users access to the Emergency Alert System. These announcements are relied upon as a lifeline for Americans during emergencies, and we’re getting a great response. Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile are including FM radio-capable handset devices in their offerings. And we’re working to get Apple on board as well.” NAB Radio Board members heard more about that in a visit to the Radio Heard Here booth at the back of the North Hall.

A tip for anyone who faces a long convention day: Get up early and taste some fresh air. I ran three miles today and it made the entire tiring show experience easier to tolerate.

Last but not least: If you’re here at the NAB show (and you’re a guy, or can sneak in), be sure to check out the men’s room in the hallway of the Hilton near the Benihana. It wins my “best wallpaper” award, and I won’t say more than that.

Tell me your own show highlights; comment below or e-mail to [email protected].